LA Galaxy travel to Portland to take on the Timbers on Sunday

PORTLAND, OR - MARCH 03: Diego Valeri
PORTLAND, OR - MARCH 03: Diego Valeri /

The LA Galaxy head to Portland looking to pick up its first win since June. Considering the Timbers’ recent struggles, Portland may be the place to turn things around.

LA Galaxy

Current Record (W-L-D): 6-10-5, ninth in the Western Conference.

Last Time Out: 0-0 draw with the Seattle Sounders at home.

Player to Watch For: Midfielder Jonathan Dos Santos will be making his debut with the Galaxy on Sunday. He is a talented holding midfielder, capable of stifling opposing forwards. Dos Santos is also a great passer and can create scoring opportunities for his team. He proved to be one of Mexico’s best players in the 2017 Confederations Cup. Heading into Sunday, it will be interesting to see if Dos Santos will start. The Galaxy may want to ease him into the lineup, meaning he’ll probably come off the bench. Regardless of how long Dos Santos plays, he has the talent to be a real difference maker for the Galaxy.

Why They Win: Portland has a very shaky backline that struggles to contain fast paced teams like the Galaxy. The Timbers have not had a clean sheet since early June. Given the addition of Dos Santos and how great Romain Alessandrini has been recently, the Galaxy are capable of putting a few goals past Portland.

Why They Won’t: Even with the new addition of Dos Santos, the Los Angeles team has yet to solve its defensive issues. The Galaxy backline seems to fold against teams with talented wingers and strikers. They may have a rough time going against Portland’s Darlington Nagbe and Diego Valeri.

Predicted Starting XI (4-2-3-1):

Portland Timbers

Current Record (W-L-D): 8-8-7, fourth in the Western Conference.

Last Time out: 2-2 draw with the Houston Dynamo on the road.

Player to Watch For: Midfielder Sebastian Blanco is in the best form he’s been in all season. The Argentine midfielder has scored two goals and collected three assists with Portland in his last five games. Blanco has a great work rate that makes him one of the biggest difference makers for Portland.

Why They Win: There are few teams with the amount of firepower the Timbers have. Valeri, Blanco and Nagbe are three of the most explosive players in the MLS. They have shined against some of the league’s best defenses. Against the Galaxy’s paper-thin backline, the Timbers should have little trouble scoring.

Why They Won’t: Portland is a boom or bust team. If the strikers and attacking midfielders don’t go off, the Timbers won’t win. Injuries have plagued the Timbers recently. They just don’t have a good enough backline to rely on defensive play at the moment. If the Galaxy can control possession and pressure Portland, the Timbers backline will eventually fold.

Predicted Starting XI (4-2-3-1):

Score Prediction:

Next: D.C. United looking to break losing streak vs. Toronto FC at home

How to Watch/Listen:

Where: Providence Park, Portland, Oregon.

When: 2 p.m. ET, Sunday, August 6

Channels: ESPN, ESPN Deportes